The Figaro Digital Digest: September 2019

by Caroline Barrow Figaro Digital

Autumnal vibes and chilly weather is already having a knock-on effect on digital marketing campaigns and social.

As the nights draw in and the knitwear comes out, find out how the wider industry has changed in the last few weeks of 2019.

The Latest Social News

Facebook Shuts Down Group Stories

Never used Facebook’s group stories? Not even heard of it? Then don’t worry, you’re not alone. The unpopular service has been shut down this month after it failed to take off. A combination of poor messaging and lack of interest led to the feature’s early decline.

The feature allowed members and administrators of groups to share videos that lasted for 24 hours. Introduced in December, Facebook had hoped the feature would help facilitate conversation and interaction in groups. In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said:

‘We’re sunsetting group stories because we want to make sure that features in groups enable people to connect in fun and useful ways, and we’re always looking at ways to improve the overall experience for communities on Facebook.’

WhatsApp Status Stories can Now be Posted on Facebook

WhatsApp has silently rolled out a feature that brings the messaging platform closer to its owner, Facebook. The new feature allows Android users to post their WhatsApp story status onto Facebook stories and other Facebook-related apps.

Despite resistance, it appears Mark Zuckerberg’s quest to unify Facebook’s communication platforms under one banner is going ahead.

Instagram Introduces Post and Video Scheduling through Facebook

In another move set to unify Facebook’s assets, users can now schedule Instagram and IGTV posts through Facebook. The new Creator Studio update allows business account holders to use Facebook for all of their Instagram scheduling needs.

By making this feature a first-party service, Facebook has removed some of the limitations of previous third-party Facebook-to-Instagram posting apps, such as adding multiple images.

Instagram and Facebook Further Restricts Diet- and Cosmetic-Related Posts

Instagram has tightened restrictions on posts and ads related to diet and cosmetic surgery. The platforms, under new rules, will limit the reach of certain weight-loss and cosmetic surgery ads to under-18 users.

Instagram’s Public Policy Manager, Emma Collins, said: ‘We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media.’

The Latest Google News

Google Makes Major Change to Nofollow Tags

Google has made a major change to how ‘nofollow’ tags work, adding two other tags to confuse SEO wizards even more. The new tags, ‘sponsored’ and ‘ugc’, are said to diversify the types of tags the search engine uses.

‘Sponsored’, signified by the rel=’sponsored’ tag, is used to identify on-site links that were added or created as part of an advertisement, sponsorship, or other paid agreement. ‘Ugc’ is for user-generated content, as the name suggests. This is to link to stuff like comments, forum posts and other miscellaneous user-content.

Sites will start being crawled and indexed for these on March 2nd 2020, so mark that in your calendars and keep an eye on any big drops or, hopefully, rises.

The Latest Brand News

The NHS is Now the UK’s Most Relevant Brand

According to research by brand and marketing consultancy Prophet, the NHS is the most relevant brand in the UK, trumping the likes of Apple, Spotify, and Sony.

Apple topped the charts consecutively for four years, but a tumultuous year for the NHS has caused it to smash into top spot. In a year where the NHS had to struggle to maintain a connection  with the British people through marketing, the brand has managed to push itself further up the rankings.

The NHS is a reminder that, at least sometimes, taking the easy route isn’t always the best bet for brands.

Next Pivots Marketing Strategy to Targeting

Next is cutting from non-digital advertising in order to fund a digital strategy that focuses heavily on targeting. Instead of piling its efforts into broad brand awareness in the UK, Next CEO Simon Wolfson informed Marketing Week that:

“[Next’s] challenge at the moment is not making people aware of the brand, it’s making our online customers aware of the breadth of offer we have”.

Furthering on the above, Wolfson stated that: ‘Brand awareness isn’t something we spend a lot of time worrying about. We worry about sales and numbers of customers we recruit because in the UK brand awareness is so high.’

With Next enjoying good returns on its digital marketing strategy, it appears that targeting, at least to local markets, works.

Campaign of the Month

The Guardian’s First Campaign in Seven Years: ‘Hope is Power’

The Guardian, despite being one of Britain’s biggest and longest-serving papers, doesn’t have a lot of campaigns. When it does do campaigns, though, they’re always excellent. The last campaign came in 2012, winning the Cannes Lion Award, with this year’s looking to follow a similar path.

Titled ‘Hope is Power’, which happens to be the debut work of creative studio Uncommon, the video shows a butterfly hitting against a window until, miraculously, it breaks through.

Directed by The Theory of Everything director James Marsh, the video has been complemented by an extensive digital, audio, and outdoor campaign. Inspired by the Editor-in-Chief’s 2017 piece ‘A mission for journalism in a time of crisis’, the ad campaign does an excellent job of capturing The Guardian’s mission statement to report real news with the view to change the status quo.

The video has been shared across social with an accompanying interactive page. Overall, the campaign has been a refreshing and relatively simple way for The Guardian to reiterate its credentials.

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